As mentioned in our “5 Common Causes of Electrical Fires” article, According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are 28,600 electrical fires per year. These fires cause $1.1 billion in property damage and loss and are responsible for 310 deaths and 1,100 injuries each year.
We know what causes electrical fires but how do we go about preventing them? We have listed the best ways to prevent electrical fires in your home. Doing these simple things will keep you and your family safe from unexpected disasters.
The older the home the more important it is to hire a reputable electrician to inspect the wiring. Wiring wears out over time especially aluminum wiring which is more fire-prone than copper. Having someone inspect your wiring is important. As a general rule of thumb, you should check your wiring if it’s older than 10 Yrs. If it looks worn out, frayed, or tattered, you’ll want to get it replaced immediately. One small spark can start a massive fire.
Plug and Cord Damage
Bad wiring is one of the biggest causes of electrical fires. If you see anything tattered, worn out or frayed, replace it immediately. Bad cords can overheat and/or cause sparks starting a fire in the process.
Overloading a socket is a common cause of electrical fires. This happens when you plug in too many things into the same outlet, extension cord or power strip. Electrical circuits can only provide so much electricity at one time. There are power strips that shut off as soon as it becomes too overloaded.
Keep flammable materials away
Irons, hair dryers, lamps and portable space heaters can all be dangerous depending on where you keep them in your home. Blankets, towels, and rugs have all started electrical fires next to regular household appliances. Tucking extension cords and cables under your rugs can also cause excessive heat which can, in turn, start a fire.
Check appliance reviews
Not all appliances are built to last or even with the same standards. Poorly made appliances are a big part of a lot of electrical fires. Make sure you search online to see whether or not they have any complaints or are defective in any way.
There are wattage and fixture requirements that most people ignore. Make sure you follow these recommendations and the light bulbs are screwed in tightly so they don’t over heat.
Circuit Breakers and Fuses
It’s best to have an electrician check the rating on the fuse for the circuit breaker they’re protecting. It should be noted that replacing a fuse with the same size you are removing is best practice.
As you continue to upgrade your home with more lighting, appliances or new electronics, you could potentially overload your homes electrical service capacity. A big clue is if your fuses frequently blow and you’ll have to increase the capacity of your electrical service or add new branch circuits.
Hire an Expert
If it seems too complicated for you to fix it’s probably dangerous for you to even try it’s time to contact a professional. There’s no reason to risk serious injury or your life to save a few dollars. It’s important to reach out to a reputable expert in the area. Having someone who is familiar with the wiring is important as they will know how to properly fix it.